Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hayden Calnin: Cut Love

Singer-composer-producer-performer and multi-instrumentalist Hayden Calnin grew up in the small town of Red Hill (population just over 700), an hour's drive south of Melbourne where he now resides. At age 14 he received a guitar from his father, but didn't start singing until 17. After getting his degrees in film and sound design, he began recording songs at home, eventually releasing two outstanding self-produced EPs, 'City' (2012) and 'Oh Hunter' (2014); solo shows, opening gigs, radio air play plus TV placements followed.

This month he dropped the first of two debut full-lengths, 'Cut Love, Pt. 1' containing ten tracks; Part 2 comes out in May. The stunning title track now has a beautiful video co-directed by the 26-year-old artist himself and features his co-director Lukas McFarlane (who also did the choreography) as well as Hayden's sister Daisy Calnin. The clip was shot in the Otways National Park in Victoria.

No shows in Australia or elsewhere are currently scheduled, but check his FB profile and official site later in the year.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Fat Freddy's Drop: 10 Feet Tall

Last month, Kiwi septet Fat Freddy's Drop published a video to go with "10 Feet Tall", the second single off of their latest full-length 'Bays' which was released in October.  It is already my all time favorite FFD jam and in my opinion also their best composition to date: the gorgeous vocals of lead singer Dallas Tamaira, the rock solid drum & bass foundation, not to mention the all round stellar musicianship and spiritual lyrics make for a song that draws the listener into a warm musical embrace that lasts well beyond the 4 minutes and 15 seconds duration of the track.

'Bays' is arguably the most experimental of their four studio albums: nine superb cuts that are sure to satisfy their existing loyal fan base while also attracting new fans; no doubt both categories of followers be present for the string of concerts coming up this year.

The hard working veteran Wellington band (founded in 1999) recently finished a big tour of their native New Zealand as well as Australia and are now gearing up for a 15-date European spring tour that kicks off with two shows in London March 24-25. They also have several summer festival gigs lined up at this point; it's worth noting that two of the shows are at the same venue: Posten in Odense, Denmark, August 24 and August 27.

The beautiful video was directed by Jessica Bluck of Auckland based visual content company Thick As Thieves, "a collective of like minded film makers". The clip was shot at the idyllic spot Pakiri north of Auckland and features local children and adults.!/about/

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Gypsy & The Cat: Inside Your Mind

Towers, Bacash

Lionel Towers and Xavier Bacash aka Gypsy & The Cat drop their third full-length this year (the title and the release date have not yet been announced.) It follows 'Gilgamesh' (2010) and 'Late Blue' (2012) - the first of which included the unforgettable track "Jona Vark" - as well as the six-song EP 'Hearts a Gun' (2015)

To whet the appetite of their fans, the Melbourne duo wisely dropped the superb single "Inside Your Mind" last month and followed up last week with a fantastic video featuring a performer wearing a stunning giant cat head mask made of sheep's wool, created by Japanese needle-felting expert Housetu Sato; the clip was made by Shanghai based director Thom Lawrence. Judging by the "To be continued" teaser at the end, a second single/video will be unveiled this soon.

A five-show mini tour kicks off March 19 in Brisbane and concludes in Perth March 27.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Weird Dreams: Ladder

Doran Edwards co-founded London based project Weird Dreams in 2010 with Craig Bowers. The duo became a quartet before releasing the 2012 debut album 'Choreography'. Now it appears Weird Dreams is primarily a one-man show in the studio and a band when performing live.  A new ten-track full-length entitled 'Luxury Alone' drops June 10; two teaser tracks have been unveiled so far: "Heaven's Hounds" and "Ladder", the latter is available as a single and consists of four minutes of gorgeous vocals and lovely music sure to soothe the most frazzled nerves.

Sadly and frustratingly, as of today, no video has been created to accompany "Ladder", but perhaps a clip will be uploaded in time for the album release. (if so, I will of course add it.)

For those lucky enough to be in London, there's a gig at The Waiting Room Monday March 7.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

BJ The Chicago Kid: Turnin Me Up

31-year-old Bryan James Sledge grew up on the South Side of Chicago, but for more than a decade he has been based in Los Angeles where he quickly built a solid reputation as a vocalist and later as a songwriter before releasing three mix tapes between 2009 and 2011 under his artist name BJ the Chicago Kid. The debut album 'Pineapple Now-laters' followed in 2012 and got him signed to Motown Records. A fourth mix tape M.A.F.E Project dropped in the fall of 2014 and featured Schoolboy Q as one of several guest artists.

This month Motown released his 15-track second studio album 'In My Mind'. Two videos were produced last year to accompany the excellent tracks "The Resume" featuring Big K.R.I.T. as well as "Church" featuring Chance the Rapper and Buddy. But my personal favorite is the third video/final track on the album: a superb tribute to Marvin Gaye entitled "Turnin Me Up" which inspired me to post this very eloquent comment on YouTube: "Sweet muscular Jesus, that shit is TIGHT!"